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Shorts Program: 1953-67

Film Society of Lincoln Center

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Visconti directs Anna Magnani, Romy Schneider, and Silvana Mangano in this potent trio of offbeat, often comic shorts drawn from omnibus films We, the Women; Boccaccio ’70; and The Witches. 

Anna Magnani  Italy, 1953, 21m Italian with English subtitles In this segment from the marvelously offbeat portmanteau film We, the Women, superstar actress Anna Magnani protests a taxi fare surcharge for traveling with her dachshund, spiraling into a comic melee involving half of Rome’s police officers. Digital restoration from Istituto Luce Cinecittà.

The Job / Il lavoro (from Boccaccio ’70) Italy, 1962, 35mm, 56m Italian and German with English subtitles Between Rocco and His Brothers and The Leopard, Visconti contributed to Boccaccio ’70, an anthology comedy inspired by the irreverent spirit of the Decameron author. His segment plays like a sophisticated deconstruction of the battle-of-the-sexes bedroom farce, featuring an effervescent Romy Schneider as an idle, rich heiress putting the screws on philandering husband Tomas Milian when one of his escapades winds up in the scandal sheet. It’s all fun and games—until it’s not. 35mm print from Istituto Luce Cinecittà.

The Witch Burned Alive / La strega bruciata viva Italy/France, 1967, 35mm, 37m Italian with English subtitles Visconti’s contribution to Dino De Laurentiis’s omnibus curio The Witches is an enigmatic, unsettling dissection of celebrity, beauty, and artifice. A divinely helmet-haired Silvana Mangano plays a nerve-shattered movie star who retreats to an Alpine chalet for some much-needed peace—only to become embroiled in the emotional and sexual gamesmanship of a coterie of upper-crust vultures. Look out for Visconti’s soon-to-be muse and lover Helmut Berger in his debut.

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